Your Local “leaders” are important

Tip O’neal (you know I loved him and he is part of my “3 O’Neil Ideal” man dream) had it right on many levels that

“All Politics are local”

We elect leaders to help us all live together peacefully. they are not picking the direction we go in – they listen to us and plan, plot and lead us on a route to the destination of our communal choosing.

Leadership is a job of servitude, when done right. For that reason we call them “Public Servants”.

As you have gathered, I have “Entitlement Issues”, or as my father calls it a “Princess Complex”. As much as I spend time working to fix everyone’s crisis, I expect someone to be there to help me with societal quandaries of my own. “Who are these people that I ask to navigate me through the red tape and mysteries of civilized living in Los Angeles County?”, you ask?

These folks serve the neighborhoods where I work.

https://neighborhoodinfo.lacity.org/#8330%20Reseda

Elected Officials for @LAcity
Mayor of Los AngelesEric Garcetti
Los Angeles City ControllerRon Galperin
Los Angeles City AttorneyMike Feuer
City CouncilDistrict 12: John Lee
County SupervisorDistrict 3: Sheila Kuehl
State SenateDistrict 18: Robert Hertzberg
State AssemblyDistrict 45: Jesse Gabriel
US CongressDistrict 30: Brad Sherman
LAUSD SchoolboardDistrict 3: Scott Schmerelson
Shall we discuss my admiration for Sheila? I want her t-shirt!
Regional Services
TV ServiceCharter Spectrum
LASAN Waste Collection DayMonday
RecycLA Waste Collection ProviderWaste Management, Inc
Parking Enforcement Area OfficesValley
Transportation District OfficeWest Valley
LA Unified School DistrictBirmingham/Cleveland/Reseda
Planning / Construction
Community Planning AreaNorthridge
Engineering DistrictValley
Area Planning CommissionNorth Valley APC
Building and SafetyCheck For Permits
Check Code Enforcement
Public Safety
Neighborhood ProsecutorDevonshire
Neighborhood Fire Station103
Community Police StationDevonshire
Red Flag Parking ZoneThis address is not within a Red Flag Parking Zone.
Other
Census Tract115403
Voter Precinct Number9002838A
Thomas Brother Map Grid530-J2
Neighborhood Council
Neighborhood Council124 – Northridge South NC
NSNC@EmpowerLA.org
Community Emergency Preparedness ContactEmergency Management Department: 213-978-2222

Each of these names comes with an office chock full of knowledgeable and resourceful folks who can and often will work miracles that the otherwise unconnected citizen can’t.

As we are in an election year and everyone is always on Facebook talking about draining swamps and removing corruption from government, I want to invite you to get to know your own local government and the programs, departments and leaders we have in place.

I hope you will be delighted, and if not – I demand you get involved and help out.

My Republican, Leftist, Agenda

25 years of case management social work and public engagement have shown me that the most important thing we can do is educate each other. We need to share the knowledge that we’ve gathered and we need to be able to independently and individually decipher that knowledge and apply it to what we’re looking at.

I’ve been working in the homeless industry and seeing the rich become obscenely wealthy and the poor fall into absolute despair without a hope of ever becoming the middle class, in the middle class just disappearing I’ve looked at the way that corporations and taxes are structured to favor those who have money.

If I were to run for public office, these seven tenants would be my platform. I invite anybody who wants to borrow it, to do so.

Chuck – a Profile of a Skid Row Resident

Chuck has waxy islands of skin floating in his lank hair, a mild case of acne and a food encrusted shirt that fits like he is Gus Gus from Disney’s Cinderella movie.

Pin on LOL!
If Disney’s Gus Gus was a person, he’d be Chuck

Like Gus, our hero is popular and generally jovial. He is also what my Grandma would call “simple”. Chuck is a product of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

“Chuck”

Chuck is a product of active alcoholics raising their own children without help. The tell tale scars are there, the flat back of his head from never been picked up as a baby, the dent from being hit so hard his skull never reshaped, the cigarette burn scars on his belly and his problem maintaining meaningful attachments.

Chuck’s best friend is Ronald, a charming grifter who is living off Social Security checks in a converted efficiency motel because it is cheap and gives him easy access to downtown and the local drug dealers. If “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”, as Desiderius Erasmus says then Ronald is a freaking emperor. Ronald is on the books as Chuck’s IHSS (In home supportive service) worker but the claim is under a false identity. He doesn’t do the caring, laundry or cleaning the checks are indended to reward him for. He gives Chuck $40 each month as a bribe and then pockets the rest of the money. Ronald is pulling this scam with 4 other residents of the “Lodge”.

Photo by Rory White of the Art Works Continuum

There is no point in looking for a new worker for Chuck, his 1 bedroom efficiency is so disgusting that nobody without a Hazmat suit could wander in. Once I stood in the doorway talking to him as he rested on his bed. A fat cockroach crawled across his hand and he did not even flinch. This was his normal and he was thankful for it.

I could never get Chuck to shower so in the summer I horrified the residents of Echo Park and took him and his friends to the public pool. You could see the rings of grease and dirt spreading off of them on the surface of the water.

Chuck’s goal was to marry a red haired girl (nobody in particular, he just liked redheads) and live in a house with a car in the garage. There is noway this could happen for him. He could barely read, didn’t have basic hygiene skills, was easily manipulated, and money was something that left his hand twice as fast as he gathered it.

Chuck is lucky to have a room in the building – but he could lose it if the building is sold or the company that owns it decides they want more money or better functioning residents because Chuck is a public health hazard.

My question to you is : Where should he live?

Board and Care facilities don’t take Social Security alone, they cost thousands of dollars a month. Homeless shelters are temporary and are designed for people who are bouncing to something more permanent.

We have a Care Gap. We need a place for folks who will always be dependent but can’t recognize that. A place where they feel dignity and are safe.

As of this writing “Chuck” is still living in the Skid Row area, he was evicted after threatening a staff member who did not know how to talk to him. Ronald is currently in the Federal penitentiary for murder.

What George Floyd Protest accomplished

So what has protesting accomplished?

👉🏾Within 10 days of sustained protests:
Minneapolis bans use of choke holds.

👉🏾Charges are upgraded against Officer Chauvin, and his accomplices are arrested and charged.

👉🏾Dallas adopts a “duty to intervene” rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force.

👉🏾New Jersey’s attorney general said the state will update its use-of-force guidelines for the first time in two decades.

👉🏾In Maryland, a bipartisan work group of state lawmakers announced a police reform work group.

👉🏾Los Angeles City Council introduces motion to reduce LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget.

👉🏾MBTA in Boston agrees to stop using public buses to transport police officers to protests.

👉🏾Police brutality captured on cameras leads to near-immediate suspensions and firings of officers in several cities (i.e., Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale).

👉🏾Monuments celebrating confederates are removed in cities in Virginia, Alabama, and other states.

👉🏾Street in front of the White House is renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
Military forces begin to withdraw from D.C.

Then, there’s all the other stuff that’s hard to measure:

💓The really difficult public and private conversations that are happening about race and privilege.

💓The realizations some white people are coming to about racism and the role of policing in this country.

💓The self-reflection.

💓The internal battles exploding within organizations over issues that have been simmering or ignored for a long time. Some organizations will end as a result, others will be forever changed or replaced with something stronger and fairer.

Globally:

🌎 Protests against racial inequality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd are taking place all over the world.

🌎 Rallies and memorials have been held in cities across Europe, as well as in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.

🌎 As the US contends with its second week of protests, issues of racism, police brutality, and oppression have been brought to light across the globe.

🌎 People all over the world understand that their own fights for human rights, for equality and fairness, will become so much more difficult to win if we are going to lose America as the place where ‘I have a dream’ is a real and universal political program,” Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the US, told the New Yorker.

🌎 In France, protesters marched holding signs that said “I can’t breathe” to signify both the words of Floyd, and the last words of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black man who was subdued by police officers and gasped the sentence before he died outside Paris in 2016.

🌎 Cities across Europe have come together after the death of George Floyd:

✊🏽 In Amsterdam, an estimated 10,000 people filled the Dam square on Monday, holding signs and shouting popular chants like “Black lives matter,” and “No justice, no peace.”

✊🏽 In Germany, people gathered in multiple locations throughout Berlin to demand justice for Floyd and fight against police brutality.

✊🏾 A mural dedicated to Floyd was also spray-painted on a stretch of wall in Berlin that once divided the German capital during the Cold War.

✊🏿 In Ireland, protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside of Belfast City Hall, and others gathered outside of the US embassy in Dublin.

✊🏿In Italy, protesters gathered and marched with signs that said “Stop killing black people,” “Say his name,” and “We will not be silent.”

✊🏾 In Spain, people gathered to march and hold up signs throughout Barcelona and Madrid.

✊🏾 In Athens, Greece, protesters took to the streets to collectively hold up a sign that read “I can’t breathe.”

✊🏾 In Brussels, protesters were seen sitting in a peaceful demonstration in front of an opera house in the center of the city.

✊🏾In Denmark, protesters were heard chanting “No justice, no peace!” throughout the streets of Copenhagen, while others gathered outside the US embassy.

✊🏾 In Canada, protesters were also grieving for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old black woman who died on Wednesday after falling from her balcony during a police investigation at her building.

✊🏾 And in New Zealand, roughly 2,000 people marched to the US embassy in Auckland, chanting and carrying signs demanding justice.

💐 Memorials have been built for Floyd around the world, too. In Mexico City, portraits of him were hung outside the US embassy with roses, candles, and signs.

💐 In Poland, candles and flowers were laid out next to photos of Floyd outside the US consulate.

💐 And in Syria, two artists created a mural depicting Floyd in the northwestern town of Binnish, “on a wall destroyed by military planes.”

Before the assassination of George Floyd some of you were able to say whatever the hell you wanted and the world didn’t say anything to you…

THERE HAS BEEN A SHIFT, AN AWAKENING…MANY OF YOU ARE BEING EXPOSED FOR WHO YOU REALLY ARE. #readthatagain

Don’t wake up tomorrow on the wrong side of this issue. Its not to late to SAY,

“maybe I need to look at this from a different perspective.

Maybe I don’t know what its like to be Black in America…

Maybe, just maybe, I have been taught wrong.”

There is still so much work to be done. It’s been a really dark, raw week. This could still end badly. But all we can do is keep doing the work.

Keep protesting.

WE ARE NOT TRYING TO START A RACE WAR; WE ARE PROTESTING TO END IT,
PEACEFULLY.

How beautiful is that?

ALL LIVES CANNOT MATTER UNTIL YOU INCLUDE BLACK LIVES.

YOU CANNOT SAY ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ WHEN YOU DO NOTHING TO STOP SYSTEMIC RACISM & POLICE BRUTALITY.

YOU CANNOT SAY ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ WHEN BLACK PEOPLE ARE DYING AND ALL YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT IS THE LOOTING.

YOU CANNOT SAY ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ WHEN YOU ALLOW CHILDREN TO BE CAGED, VETERANS TO GO HOMELESS, AND POOR FAMILIES TO GO HUNGRY & LOSE THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE.

DO ALL LIVES MATTER? YES. BUT RIGHT NOW, ONLY BLACK LIVES ARE BEING TARGETED, JAILED, AND KILLED EN MASSE- SO THAT’S WHO WE’RE FOCUSING ON.

🖤🖤🖤BLACK LIVES MATTER🖤🖤🖤

IF YOU CAN’T SEE THIS, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

Sinner not Saint, that Black Life Mattered

Hi.
Fair warnings to y’all. I was a Bible Study teacher for forever. (My 1998 internet ordination doesn’t really matter here)
Don’t come at me with your

“George Floyd wasn’t a saint and doesn’t deserve his name remembered” crud

unless you want to talk about Saint Mary of Egypt, and St Augustine and all the other murderers, thieves, and jerks who had God’s favor weather they wanted it or not.

Everyone wants to be a “Good Christian” until the Holy Bible shows up. Dude.

The point of being a good person in God’s eyes isn’t living a perfect life, it is trying to have a better understanding of your creator. If we are lucky, when you and God know each other, your actions will improve and then person by person the world is transformed into a better place.

Mr. Floyd probably never signed up to be a martyr for this cause. He was as human as the rest of us; just like YOU deserve love and recognition, so does he.

Will we all get Cinderella Funerals? Ummm no. But as a White Lady I probably won’t be killed by the police in an act of systemic racism that values blacks as people who are expendable. It’s almost like we need to be reminded that black lives matter.

God and I have been buddies since I was 6. He approves this message of love and grace.

If you are bothered that your voluntary television watching has been interrupted and you are annoyed that people are discussing issues that have nothing to do with you, I am going to ask you to check in with yourself. You may not be the source of this problem but you definitely are “a problem” .  The sign I want to hold on front of you says “Other people Matter”

I think it’s safe to say that racism is the reason that we see so many people of color on Skid Row. Racism is the reason that you picture a black man when you think of a homeless person or drug addict easier than you think of a middle aged white man in a power suit. Racism sucks and we need to recognize it, obliterate it, and move on. Being annoyed that someone is pointing out racism is just…so 409 years ago.

When the LAPD Attack

Dear Los Angeles Police Department,

Tensions are high – anxiety and adrenaline fill the air inbetween shouts of protest and reminders everywhere that the police are sometimes as lawlss as everyone else.

Shooting homeless people in wheelchairs with rubber bullets is exactly the crap we are protesting.

From the photographer:

“As I was being arrested for my second day in a row during peaceful protests in support of Black Lives Matter, I decided to continue taking photos until the moment right before handcuffs were put on me. Very risky, but a necessary move to expose LAPD’s entirely inexcusable use of aggressive force, especially in the moments before mass arrests of peaceful protesters.

 Homeless Man shot by LAPD in the face with rubber bullets - the victim in all of this.

As we were being boxed in on Broadway & 5th Street to be arrested, LAPD decided that a completely unarmed homeless man in a wheelchair that had NOTHING to do with our protest was somehow a threat. They proceeded to inappropriately shoot “non-lethal” rounds directly at his face, which is against the proper procedure for firing rubber bullets.The last image is exceptionally heart-breaking for me as you can visibly see the homeless man writhing in pain, screaming, as he spews blood from his face moments after getting shot.When people want to be apathetic or inactive in fighting against police brutality against black individuals, make them realize this trickles over & can affect them or someone they love too, regardless if they’re black or not.”

Some people will never get it

This tongue in cheek letter about tv shows during COVID is also like our neighbors in a homeless crisis. If you are only inconvienced by something you become annoyed by it.

My friend, Michelle Settergren, says that racism and COVID have one thing in common – they can develope right next to you but until youre the one in a hospital bed, these issues can be pushed away as made up magic. A hoax, if you will.

I know it is hard to keep your mind on all the tragedies happening at once while the world coughs, sputters and burns. – But Homelessness is a real thing, and real soutions are happening.

Please be aware and supportive.

Thank you,

Sonya

My personal Update

Guys, I am fine. don’t worry. Sure, I feel like I have been in self isolation non stop for months, but this is really just the 3rd time – I am about to lose track of how many people I serve are COVID-19 positive. However, I want you to know that I

1. have an N95 Mask

2. Have gloves

3. Wash my hands (and took part of my @bbw soap collection to work)

4. Am usually locked in my office (we can Zoom or TEAMS if you want)

5. I have 2 changes of clothes at work and am taking every precaution possible.

Mostly, know that I am doing what God has called me to do and I am content in that – although poor and Darla has found her “dream house” which I can’t ever buy her 🙂

Self Isolation blows because it means I can’t cook for Darla and have to limit our contact. Thank goodness for Uber Eats and Postmates! I am also aware and thankful for your prayers for Darla, and for me, and for other reasons prayers for my family. In times of crisis, I think our urge is to jump in and helped. I feel so blessed to have the skills and opportunity to make a small difference in my community by helping people end their homelessness and find better mental health and sobriety (but to be fair, last Thursday had me day drinking an entire ounce)Be strong, hold on to each other and know that – as I told my beloved cousins – I am here to listen, even if it is just a string of curse words sent through text while you smile at everyone else.

Darla’s dream house

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